What Can Brown Do For Blockchain? UPS Joins ‘Blockchain In Transport Alliance’

On November 7, 2017, UPS announced it has joined the Blockchain in Trucking Alliance (BiTA), an organization formed under the auspices of generating standards and common frameworks around the freight industry by using blockchain technology.

According to the announcement, UPS perceives blockchain systems as a truly disruptive technology. It foresees a future wherein "blockchain standards and intercompany collaboration will support the logistics strategies that enable UPS customers to participate in global trade and finance." With that motivation, UPS joins the BiTA, unified by the tenets of common standards, education, and collaboration.

Acknowledging a number of use cases, Linda Weakland, UPS director of enterprise and innovation, spoke of the possibilities of blockchain-backed systems. "Blockchain has multiple applications in the logistics industry, especially related to supply chains, insurance, payments, audits and customs brokerage. The technology has the potential to increase transparency and efficiency among shippers, carriers, brokers, consumers, vendors and other supply chain stakeholders.”

Increased transparency means increased accountability, which may aid in UPS's work in the field of customs brokerage. According to UPS, one of its key objectives is to implement a strategy for digitizing transactions, and the company has expressed that a blockchain-backed system "would help by improving transaction accuracy and by replacing existing paper-heavy and manual processes."

UPS also seeks to employ blockchain technology as a means of providing trusted transactions between government agencies and private customers.

With its inclusion to the BiTA, UPS brings Coyote Logistics, a freight brokerage it acquired in 2015, joining more than 300 other companies that have applied to the alliance.